Drive-thru care site opens in Ascension, hopes to alleviate strain on emergency rooms
GONZALES- A drive-thru care site is up and running in the parking lot of Our Lady of the Lake Ascension for people who need to seek medical care but don't need to walk into an emergency room.
The idea was developed from what medical professionals were doing in Asia to treat patients who are sick but do not want to risk walking into a building.
The site is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot outside of Medical Plaza 1 at OLOL Ascension. Large white tents erected in the parking lot allow several medical professionals to triage patients as they pull up for care.
The staff has the ability to treat patients from their cars for things like respiratory issues and abdominal pain. People who need to see a doctor can also show up for things like x-rays or EKGs, according to organizers.
"It keeps minor illnesses from presenting to the emergency room," Nurse Practitioner Marcus Rovira said. "Everyone is nervous and tense. It provides reassurance that we're here and can treat your problems."
As of Thursday, at least 100 patients had already used the service. Some traveled from New Orleans, as the Big Easy's hospitals are inundated with patients.
"We have seen patients from Ochsner, Baton Rouge General, we've seen patients from anywhere in the community," Rovira said. "We are here for Ascension, and that's the mission we serve."
Heather Gaubert is a registered nurse and clinical supervisor. She said the number of people that need treatment has increased daily.
"From a staffing standpoint, the staff members were able to conserve our PPE, personal protective equipment, and use it for the frontline out here," Gaubert said.
As the word quickly gets out, those who need care are happy to have additional options, with those providing care saying this is giving people new alternatives.
"We still have patients that need care and this allows us to do it in a safe environment," Rovira said.